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Spirit of the Valley
The Magazine of Mountain Wellness

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Welcome!

Welcome to Spirit of the Valley! - the resource for the wellness community of the Wood River Valley, Southern Idaho, and Beyond.......

I am so happy to offer you the entirety of the April/May 2005 Issue - The Wellness Festival Issue- with feature articles, local and regional columnists, a resource directory, schedules of local classes, the calendar, information on past issues, advertising and much more!

Feedback and suggestions are always greatly appreciated to let us know how to serve you better, bring you the information you need, and to share and grow together.

Cover Art © Jay Freis 2005

-Angela Earle, Editor-in-Chief & Owner

Spirit of the Valley, LLC

Click Here to Send an Email to Angela

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Letter from the Editor ~ April/May 2005

The Wellness Festival Issue

 

Honoring Our Mothers...

Honoring Ourselves

 

 

"Life isn't fair, and who told you it would be?!"

~ Kathy Nash (my mom)

How many of us know the story of our mothers, and not the story of how she birthed us, but her actual life story?   How many of us have ever asked?   I think it was Charlie Brown who said (at least for the first time I ever heard it) that history will repeat itself if we don't learn from it - i.e. it has something to teach us about today, about ourselves.   What a celebration it would be if we took the energy we spend on flowers, candy and gooey cards and instead used it on expressing, witnessing, and honoring the power, wisdom, and awesomeness of our mothers?  

***

If there is one characteristic that defines the modern world (besides our love/hate relationship with food) it would have to be the microanalysis we've all done on our childhoods.   We delve into our past in search of the answers to all of our problems today.   What began in the early 20 th century as a greater appreciation for the importance of parenting has became the biggest excuse for not taking responsibility for our own lives. If analysis is not a stepping stone to action, it is actually detrimental to us.

Now, don't get me wrong. There are a lot of people out there genuinely messed up by tortured childhoods.   But, those are a small percentage of the masses now whining about how they were either loved too much or too little, were given too much or too little, and whose parents were either too involved in their lives or too distant.   Mother's Day is drawing near and wouldn't it be wonderful if we could move BEYOND forgiveness of all of her wrongdoings and mistakes while "doing the best she could," to truly celebrating and appreciating her? Yes, it is important that we receive and give love, nourishment, and guidance, but there is not some magical formula, some "if only" that would have taken away our present angst (which is really just the unwillingness and inability to let go of the past and to accept responsibility - and accept the happiness inherent - in the present moment).

***

My own story of awareness of the gift of my beloved mother has been a long and tortuous road for both of us.   I did not receive the "ideal" childhood, whatever that means.   For a long time I would blame my inability to take action in my own life, on all of the things I didn't have, and on my inability to manage my life and my money on my childhood.   I blamed my repeating patterns on her, and bemoaned all I wasn't taught or "hadn't had the opportunity" to experienced, and for what I could never change.     If only she had moved away after the divorce, if only she had married a doctor, if only she had given me up for adoption, if only I was born into the family of millionaires, if only if onlyifonly.......

I found myself in my mid and late twenties with a master's degree that I felt would insure that no one would ever question my intellectual abilities (no matter what came out of my mouth), and safely set in a career track doing good work to save the world, living in the big city, and making more money than anyone in my family ever had.   I was shocked to find that I wasn't happy.    When I really started to delve into my own past Mom and I came face to face again.    It dawned on me one day that blaming - and staying in that blame - for all of the things that could never be undone (the past), and all of the things that I couldn't change (everything but myself) - was a deadend road.   If I really wanted to be happier, and if I really wanted more joy in my life,   I had to remove the barriers to that joy, whatever they were.    My heart revolted - not against what had happened - but in the lack of self-love I was giving to myself.    Though being in defensive posture may appear motionless, it sucks up a lot of energy, thought, and time.  

My big breakthrough came through Spirit of the Valley, after years of looking at the "issue" from a hundred different angles.   I realized that there were a lot of things that I couldn't let into my heart, a lot more ways that I could be of service, and a lot more abundance and prosperity out there than I had the capacity to accept.   It became clear to me that the old "mom block" was still operative,   and that "forgiveness" was a starting point, but obviously not the solution.   I began to look at it in a new way, and I must admit I felt a little hopeless.   I had tried so hard - what would or could be different this time?

The answer presented itself to me one day when I was exhausted, frustrated, and sad.   While my husband was away I came home late at night, after a long double shift of waitressing, to a warning by the doggy police and a variety of sticks, hair and decomposing crab apples in the living room brought in by our puppy Diego.   I looked at him and literally said, "This isn't working out. I'm going to have to take you to the shelter."   His little puppy dog eyes stared back at me, depending on me, loving me unconditionally.  

All of a sudden, my heart opened up.   A wave of understanding came over me, and for one moment I could see and feel what had to have been just a fraction of what my mother had experienced.   The years of working hard at a job she didn't like, the years of two daughters sucking her life energy, her money, and her dreams, of never being alone, of always having to be the responsible one, of always having to put others before her, of always living on the edge, of always moving forward with her own unacknowledged baggage, her own unacknowledged dreams.   I saw in one instance that the incredible thing was that she had actually stuck around at all!!!!!   My mother didn't do "the best she could" - she served us not only through her work and love, but with the very years of her life.    I realized that there was nothing to "forgive," and that there was only freedom to embrace, for both of us.   If anyone needed to be forgiven, it was me.

San Juan Diego, the puppy that set me free.....

On Christmas Day I called her and told her about my revelation.   I apologized for all of the things I had said, all of the work and love that had gone unacknowledged, and for my arrogance and judgment.   She laughed and laughed.   It was a little strange at first, but I now hear her laughter as the sound of a bird being let free and flying - no, soaring! - into the sky.  

In ancient times we honored our ancestors, and we most definitely honored our mothers and fathers as our life-givers, as our blood.   Ancestor worship, and later respect, seems to have been tossed overboard on the way to the New World to make room for the promise of the future, and the cult of youth and beauty.   In our struggle to break with the past, we through out all of it -including ancient ideas of honor - in order to assert our independence and create a better world and life.   But, this has not had the expected outcome.   We are not stronger because of our "independence" (which is really something that is only truly attained through the care, realization, and input of many people), but rather we find ourselves alone, against the world.   This aloneness, and the cries of "how could God let this happen" further mirrors this disconnect, resounding deep inside our own soul.   For, the truth of the matter is that when we don't honor others we are not honoring ourselves.     We are disconnected and we are alone when we fail to see that we not only were created by our ancestors and parents, but that they in turn are shaped and changed by us.   Their forgotten and abandoned wisdom doesn't even make it into the self-help books about overcoming our sad individual stories.   Instead we blame them, even as we become them.

Our mothers are not fragile creatures that must be protected from swear words and pain, nor are they vicious or selfish witches. They are real people, literally made of the same flesh and blood that we are, life-givers, healers, and carriers of the message of the ancestors and we are their eyes and ears.   When we pay homage to her, we pay homage to the Great Creator Spirit, and to our own sacred role on this earth, in this country, and as mothers and fathers ourselves.

With Honor, Love & Gratitude I Salute all of the Mothers of the Earth!

- Angela Earle -